Talk on Patrick Byrne, blind harper, at the Market House, Monaghan
Following last weekend’s Féile Patrick Byrne at Scoil Rois and Corduff, and with the approach of the rejuvenated Féile Óriel in Monaghan town, the time is opportune for commemoration of a legend in the musical tradition of South Ulster.
Clogher Historical Society/Cumann Seanchais Chlochair has organised a talk entitled ‘Patrick Byrne, the 19th-century Royal Harper from Magheracloone’, to be given by Micheál McDermott, local historian and national school teacher from Navan, County Meath. Micheál has spent some years researching Byrne’s extraordinary life, from his humble beginnings in south Monaghan to his training with the Belfast Harp Society and his life as a professional musician. Byrne developed a reputation as one of the last ‘old-style’ blind harpers in the country and he was well known for his wanderings through Ireland and Britain as an entertainer to wealthy families. He is said to have been the first Irish traditional musician ever photographed. Although somewhat contrived, this photograph of Byrne, taken in Edinburgh around 1 April 1845 by pioneering photographers David Octavius Hill and Robert Adamson, is nonetheless remarkable. Byrne’s association with patrons such as the Shirleys of Lough Fea and Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of England will be explored by McDermott, who will also offer his suggestions as to the whereabouts of Byrne’s harp.
The venue for the talk is The Market House, Monaghan, Wednesday 15 April at 8pm – admission free, all welcome. For further information contact Clogher Historical Society/Cumann Seanchais Chlochair, phone +353 (0)47 71984, email email@example.com
or see the website www.clogherhistory.ie
, The programme for Féile Oriel, taking place over the weekend 1st-3rd May 2009, is available on www.feileoriel.com